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ATO tweaks JobKeeper guidance; deadline looms to nominate staff

Maja Garaca Djurdjevic
Maja Garaca Djurdjevic
18 August 2020 2 minute readShare
ATO tweaks JobKeeper guidance

Staff employed by 1 July 2020 are now eligible for the JobKeeper wage subsidy, following the scheme’s extension which also saw the relevant date of employment pushed back from 1 March to 1 July, increasing eligibility.

The Treasurer has now officially registered a legislative instrument bringing into effect the eligibility change, which gives employers until the end of the month to satisfy the wage condition for any new employees they have or plan to enrol in the scheme.

As announced earlier, the amendments apply from 3 August for the last four fortnights of the legislated scheme as well as the duration of the proposed extended period.

To reflect these changes, the ATO, too, has updated its guidance, outlining employee nomination requirements and wage conditions for new eligible employees under the 1 July eligibility test.

Content has also been updated to explain that for JobKeeper fortnights commencing on 3 August 2020 and 17 August 2020, employers have until 31 August 2020 to meet the wage condition for all new eligible employees under the 1 July eligibility test.

However, according to the legislative instrument published on Friday, an employer enrolled or intending to enrol for JobKeeper payments must complete the employee nomination notice to notify their eligible employees that they intend to participate in the scheme within seven days of the commencement of the instrument.  

Speaking to MyBusiness sister brand Accountants Daily, the Tax Institute’s senior advocate, Robyn Jacobson, explained that businesses essentially have until 21 August to fulfil this requirement.

“The profession is seeking for the commissioner to allow employers more time to meet this requirement, in line with the extension to the end of August to enrol and meet the wage condition for fortnights 10 and 11,” Ms Jacobson confirmed.

However, the ATO’s updated guidance does read that if an employer hasn’t provided all their relevant employees with a notice within the required time, they need to do this as soon as possible.

Casuals debate

The ATO has also updated its content on how to determine if an employee is considered a long-term casual employee for JobKeeper payments.

The exclusion of casuals that did not meet the long-term definition on 1 March was a contentious issue from the launch of JobKeeper. However, with the eligibility date now tweaked, Ms Jacobson said business should now consider a range of employees.

“The one in, all in rule means that any full-time or part-time employee hired between 2 March and 1 July 2020 who meets the age and residency requirements, or casuals who also meet the 12-month condition to be a long-term casual employee, will need to be provided with a nomination notice,” she said.

She clarified that eligibility of existing employees is preserved if they are already covered by JobKeeper based on the 1 March 2020 reference date, meaning that retesting of their eligibility is not required.

The JobKeeper changes were announced on 7 August in response to Victoria’s deteriorating coronavirus situation, which saw the state plunge into stage 4 lockdowns to slow the spread.

You can access the ATO’s latest updates here.

ATO tweaks JobKeeper guidance; deadline looms to nominate staff
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Maja Garaca Djurdjevic
Maja Garaca Djurdjevic

Maja Garaca Djurdjevic is the editor of My Business. 

Maja has a decade-long career in journalism across finance, business and politics. Now a well-versed reporter in the SME and accounting arena, prior to joining Momentum Media, Maja reported for several established news outlets in Southeast Europe, scrutinising key processes in post-conflict societies and enabling citizens to influence decision-making.

You can email Maja on [email protected] 

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